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NRO Adds Umbra to Next Stage of Commercial RF Sensing Contract

By Calvin Biesecker | February 29, 2024
      Photo: National Reconnaissance Office

      Photo: National Reconnaissance Office

      Umbra on Wednesday said the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) has selected the company for the second stage of a commercial remote sensing contract the agency uses to obtain radio satellite-based radio frequency (RF) data for intelligence collection.

      In early 2023, the NRO selected Maxar TechnologiesHawkEye 360, Kleos Space, and Spire Global for Stage II contract options under the Strategic Commercial Enhancements effort. HawkEye recently acquired Maxar’s RF business.

      An Umbra spokesman said the company received the $900,000 Stage II option in November 2023. The period of performance runs through fiscal year 2025.

      The NRO said last year that the commercial capabilities contracts are designed to quickly be scaled to higher values as mission value, customer requirements, and on-orbit capabilities are confirmed.

      Under Stage II, the companies are providing RF imagery data to enable NRO to validate the performance of the satellite products, assess mission utility, and integrate the imagery into the government’s architecture.

      “We deeply believe that the current and emerging American companies in the commercial ISR space are already making a meaningful contribution to the U.S.’ missions across all government sectors,” Omar Wheatley, Umbra’s director of strategic programs, said in a statement.

      Umbra in late 2022 also received an NRO Stage II commercial capabilities for satellite-based synthetic aperture radar imagery.

      This story was first published by Defense Daily